Can a capitalist, profit-seeking society also embrace social responsibility?
Yes, it can. And yes, it is.
A growing number of consumers and companies are gravitating toward purpose-driven initiatives. Profit and prosperity are no longer their sole goals; they also seek to give back to society in meaningful ways. In fact, 90 percent of consumers say they expect businesses to address social and environmental issues, and 64 percent of CEOs say corporate social responsibility is a core aspect of their business models.
In the modern era, social impact is becoming the foundation of long-lasting, mutually gratifying relationships between brands and consumers. But beyond that, it’s also becoming the foundation of attractive, emotionally fulfilling investments.
According to a recent Legg Mason survey, 69 percent of financial advisors have seen an increased interest in environmentally and socially responsible assets. Their clients are looking to break free from the mold and have a positive impact on the world through investing. It’s very admirable.
Yet for these impact-minded investors, identifying precisely how to achieve this greater purpose can be a tricky task. It isn’t always easy to find an opportunity that both satisfies your financial objectives and produces your desired effect on society.
Franchise Investing: Your Path to Purpose
Your gut instinct may tell you that creating a business from scratch is the only way to actually achieve your greater purpose — and that may be true. However, you should be aware that launching a business is no small feat. Even if you succeed in crafting a great business model, building an attractive brand, and hiring an excellent staff, it could take several years before you finally have your intended impact.
Fortunately, an easier option exists: franchise investing.
The franchising sector is growing at breakneck speeds and covers a tremendous range of business models and opportunities. Quite possibly, some franchisors will have purpose-driven outlooks that closely resemble your own.
These companies have already done the dirty work. They come equipped with brand recognition, a targeted clientele, and proven processes and systems. All you have to do is steer the ship.
As you begin vetting franchise investment opportunities, ask yourself these four questions:
- What’s my industry shortlist? Don’t dive headfirst into the vast seas of franchising. You’ll drown in the countless options. Instead, create a list of industries you feel most passionate about. Make sure they match your purpose-driven mission. Then, limit your search to those realms.
Franchise investing will not always be smooth sailing, but compared to traditional entrepreneurship, it gives you a serious head start on your path to success. But no matter how large your lead, you’re going to want to feel enthusiastic about your product, brand, and overall industry. This will keep you motivated and focused.
- How much flexibility will I have? Don’t feel discouraged if you struggle to find a brand that perfectly mirrors your greater purpose. Honestly, consider yourself lucky if you do.
On the bright side, the right franchisor will allow for some flexibility and creativity. It will encourage franchisees to flex their entrepreneurial muscles and incorporate regional quirks and personal passion projects into the operation. These are the types of companies you want to invest in. Be sure to meet with the top franchisors on your list to gain clarity on the amount of flexibility you’ll be granted.
How big are my dreams? Do you want to run one store that has a localized impact, or do you want to run an empire that changes the world? Both are impressive goals, but if your dream is to create an empire, you need to factor scalability and financial feasibility into the equation.
Gravitate toward business models that make adding a second, third, and fourth store easy. Furthermore, before you set out to revolutionize the world, make sure your finances can handle what you want to do. What is your debt comfort zone? How much equity do you desire? How can you leverage other assets and your open stores in a low-risk manner?
At the end of the day, don’t overextend on your dream; base it on your real-life financial profile. If you plan well, you will be rewarded in many ways. Not least of all, you’ll gain peace of mind and less stress.
- Am I in it to win it? How much effort are you willing to pour into your business’s success? What time frame are you looking at for the investment? What toll will running the business take on your life? Before signing on the dotted line, look at how a franchise investment would fit with your other plans.
Do your due diligence, create models, and crunch numbers. Depending on your goals, craft an appropriate scalability plan and exit strategy.
As purpose-driven investing continues to rise in popularity, franchises will be seen as an avenue that provides the most flexibility, more support, and higher odds of financial success and personal fulfillment.
Franchises allow investors to have an immediate positive impact on the world around them in their own unique manner, just with a little help — and that alone is priceless.
Ben Midgley is the chief executive officer and Founding Partner of Crunch Franchise. Since 2010, he has led the creation and development of Crunch Franchise, turning it into the fastest launch of any full-size franchise in the history of the fitness industry. Previously, Ben served as the executive vice president of Planet Fitness and the senior director of corporate sales for 24 Hour Fitness. Ben is the co-author of “Golden Circle Secrets,” a book that was rated the No. 1 sales management and No. 1 customer service book on Amazon.